I have been mesmerized by Seraphina since I first read it in 2013. It was one of my favorite books that year. The next book in the series, Shadow ScalI have been mesmerized by Seraphina since I first read it in 2013. It was one of my favorite books that year. The next book in the series, Shadow Scale released this year and I was lucky enough to get approved (just days before the released date) on NetGalley. I was concerned, after slogging through Clariel, that my memory had faded and I wanted to re-read Seraphina before tackling Shadow Scale. But that’s a tough battle for many readers…why re-read when there are so many other unread books begging to be read? Amazingly enough, my library just happened to have an audiobook copy of Seraphina and I took advantage of my new found love for re-reading via audiobooks.
The audiobook sucked me into the Seraphina’s world once again. I was dazzled by the uniqueness of Goredd and all its inhabitants—humans and dragons alike. Seraphina’s world of music seemed more alive to me this time because the narrator actually sang the songs! I love music. I collect movie soundtracks and cast recordings. So to actually HEAR “Peaches and Cheese” and Lin and Claude’s love long made my heart soar.
For those that have read the book, Seraphina is gifted with maternal memories—visions of her mother’s life. In the physical book, the maternal memories are denoted by a break and the text is italicized. In the book, another narrator fills in for Lin. A sterner, more mature, less emotional voice that is full of longing and regret. While these memories seemed to pop up a the most importune times for Seraphina, as a reader, I looked forward to them as I picked up on subtle hints regarding Lin’s life and the political intrigue that I had missed when I raced through the book a couple years ago. I think I identified more with Seraphina’s dual life on my first read through; ignoring Lin’s struggle, Claude’s fears and Kiggs’s devotion. On this second read through, I saw how Seraphina’s life paralleled her mother’s and father’s and how it diverged because of her courage.
And as seems to happen every time I pick up an audiobook of a physical book I have already read, my physical copy is now dotted with post-it note flags marking my favorite passages and quotes. I can’t decide if this is happening because my ear picks up on words/phrases that are emphasized by the narrator or if I’m more willing to “mark-up” my books now that I’m actively sharing my thoughts about them online.
I am certainly looking forward to reading Shadow Scale soon. Now that I have familiarized myself with Seraphina’s world again, I look forward to her adventures as she searches for others like her and fights to save her country from war. I’m happy that Seraphina maintained its status as one of the most unique fantasy novels that I have read and listened to.
My Review of Whiskey and a Gun ** spoiler alert ** Another great entry from Jade Eby. This short story keeps you reading with a compelling plot told frMy Review of Whiskey and a Gun ** spoiler alert ** Another great entry from Jade Eby. This short story keeps you reading with a compelling plot told from an unusual point of view. Just a word of warning...it stops short at the end and you'll have to wait till 2014 for a resolution.
My Review of the Finish The Finish by Jade Eby packs an emotional punch. It is not an easy read. Domestic violence and the motivations of the abused are front and center for over 400 pages. It was hard not to scream at Tawny as I flipped the pages of The Finish while at the same time empathizing with her need to stay, her need to make things right, her need to fix him. We’ve all been in situations like that even if we have not been the victims of domestic violence. And that is what makes The Finish so assessable, so finish-able. There’s something in Tawny’s struggle to find herself amid all the hurt that is a reflection of the reader’s own experiences.
Do not doubt the warning on this book, “For mature audience only.” Jade holds nothing back as she moves through Tawny’s story. If you do start reading, be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions. I’m almost certain that you’ll be in need of some sunshine, unicorns and load of cotton candy when you are finished....more
Another #ShelfLove Book off my shelf. Another debate on whether to continue the a new series. Must every young adult novel be a series? *sighs*
I did eAnother #ShelfLove Book off my shelf. Another debate on whether to continue the a new series. Must every young adult novel be a series? *sighs*
I did enjoy my adventure through Bardugo’s mythical world of Ravka that reminded me vaguely of Russia. I could feel the cold, the darkness and the fear. While my copy of the book is just a lowly paperback, I thought the novel was beautifully put together. The details in the chapter headings and surrounding the page numbers was fascinating.
However, I think my time with girls that are hiding special powers, destined to save the world with the boy they shouldn’t love is over. I thought the novel was predictable. I could see how the novel was going to end and it left me feeling “Meh.” I know that this will probably cause me to be sent to Tsibeya because I know I have some friends absolutely loved this book/series, but I’m burned out on this type of story.
So why did I keep reading? I was seduced by the Darkling and the Grisha. i was fascinated by their power, their life of privilege. I wanted to know more about how they became Grisha as each country introduced in the book treats this group of people differently. Sadly, I was disappointed on this front. And of course, this isn’t a story about the Grisha and the Darkling’s rise to power. It’s a story about special Alina and her special powers.
For a reader that is a huge fan of The Hunger Games series or the Divergent series, The Grisha series might be right up their alley. Me, I’m going to pass on the remainder of the books in series. I’ll stay in The Shadow Fold with the volcra as I have no desire to see how this series ends.
I’m sick and don’t have much in the way of focus alert!
I borrowed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin from my sister-Beach read alert!
I’m sick and don’t have much in the way of focus alert!
I borrowed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin from my sister-in-law on Labor Day weekend. It’s a book I’ve heard quite a bit about and certainly wanted to give it a shot because it was about a bookstore and a man who loves books. I can admire that.
I will admit that I read this book while I was suffering from a cold. It doesn’t have much in the way of deep revelations about life. It’s a lighter adult fiction read. The characters are fairly two-dimensional and predictable, but I did enjoy “A.J. Fikry.” Perhaps the cold medicine took over my brain, but by the end of the story I wanted to vacation on Alice Island and spend hours in Island Books. It sounded like my kind of place.
Sometimes, I guess, one needs a lighter read. For those times there are books like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry that fill that space. You can find comfort in the corners of that familiar bookshop in your mind and forget that you are stuffed up and feeling like crap.
Don’t read “A.J. Fikry” if you are looking for something revolutionary and life changing. Read it if you are looking for something light, familiar and comfortable. It certainly fits that bill. And I’ll see you on Alice Island soon. Meet me for lunch at Pequod’s.
Well, this novel certainly caught me by surprise. It came to my attention via a NetGalley email and I thought, “Heck, why not?” I’m starting to ease mWell, this novel certainly caught me by surprise. It came to my attention via a NetGalley email and I thought, “Heck, why not?” I’m starting to ease my way, slowly, into mainstream science fiction. Maybe too slowly, as my husband, when I was explaining this book, kept saying…”Oh, that’s like X or that’s like Y. Haven’t you read that yet?” There are so many hours in the day, y’know? ...more
Outlander is a book that is near and dear to my heart. It is responsible for kicking off my adult reading life thanks to a suggestion from a co-workerOutlander is a book that is near and dear to my heart. It is responsible for kicking off my adult reading life thanks to a suggestion from a co-worker back in 2001 or 2002. It’s the book that made me discover historical fiction books with a twist of science fiction. Jamie Fraser is my first (and only) book boyfriend. Outlander is the first eBook I ever purchased and my first Audible download. I’ve loaned out my copy of Outlander so many times I’ve lost count. It also had not been returned so many times that I’ve lost count. And my current copy, purchased from Half Price Books, will not be loaned out because its cover is unique and I don’t want to give it up. Outlander is responsible for me connecting with lots of my co-workers and other authors. It’s the reason I binge on time travel and historical fiction novels.
Why I Re-Read Outlander
Technically I didn’t re-read Outlander I re-listened to it between Season 1, Part 1 and Season 1, Part 2 of the Starz TV show. This audiobook is over 30 hours long and my commute is a total of 40 minutes. It took a LONG time to listen to the whole thing, but as is usually case with this novel, I loved every minute of it. The plus side to a short commute, Jamie and Claire’s wedding night lasted at least 3 days. Hot! The down side, Jamie’s capture and torture by Black Jack lasted at least 3 days. Heartbreaking! Another plus side now that I’m eight books into the series and engrossed in the television series, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before.
Things I Noticed This Time
I wanted more Frank. The show has forced me to see Claire’s disappearance through Frank’s eyes. Poor guy. He gets married, gets shipped off to war, reunites with is wife, goes on a honeymoon and she disappears. What the hell is he doing while Claire is galavanting in the Scottish Highlands 200 years in the past? How does he feel since the love of his life vanished? Thanks Starz for raising my awareness of Frank’s plight through…oops…better stop there almost spoiled something.
Did you know that Jenny actually uses phrase “my own heart’s blood” the title for book 8 in the series?
I hated Black Jack more. The show did it. Apparently my imagination isn’t nearly as powerful as I thought. But if I watch something and then read it…whoa, watch out. Black Jack is evil. And since I was listening to this around the same time as the release of Fifty Shades of Grey and while we were watching the latest season of Game of Thrones, I was drawing some not nice parallels between Jack, Christian Grey and Ramsay Bolton.
A lot has happened in my life since I first read and eventually listened to Outlander the first time. Jamie’s description of his emotional state after his torture and sexual assault hit home for me this go around.
“Now it’s like…like my own fortress has been blown up with gunpowder—there’s nothing left of it but ashes and a smoke rooftree, and the little naked thing that lived there once is now out in the open, squeaking and whimpering in fear, tryin’ to hide itself under a blade of grass or a bit o’ leaf, but…but not…makin’ m-much of a job of it.”
The emotion packed into those sentences broke my heart. Jamie has been so strong through so much of the book and to see him broken and afraid…*sniffles*
The Wedding. Seeing the Wedding on the TV show from Jamie’s point of view was twist I didn’t see coming. Going back to the book it was fun to know something Claire didn’t. Everything that Jamie went through to make sure she was getting the proper wedding while she was busy drowning her sorrows made my heart swell.
Ned Gowan is still my favorite tertiary character of the series. Ned doesn’t know Claire’s secret, but he does know she’s a smart woman. He admires that and provides Claire assistance in a time when women didn’t earn respect easily. He’s cagey and witty. He’s a good man and one has got to admire that when everyone else (save Jamie) is out to find out who Claire is.
A Mystery I Missed and Am Not Sure Has Been Resolved
I’m hoping my other Outlander friends can help me out here. There was a conversation between Jamie and Claire shortly after they are married that gave me pause. I can’t recall if this has been settled or not. Perhaps our collective knowledge of the books will solve the mystery.
At least once Jamie mentions that he’ll tell Claire why he married her. One of those points happens shortly after they return to the Castle and Jamie has just come back from his visit with Laoghaire.
“Claire,” he said evenly, “I shall tell ye in my own time why I’ve wed ye—or I won’t.”
I thought I recall at one point Jamie saying there were at least 3 reasons he married Claire. So here’s my question, at any point in any of the 8 books does Jamie explain why he married Claire? If not, it makes that shadowy figure that Frank encounters at the start of Outlander all the more mysterious and haunting.
Outlander holds a dear spot in my heart and on my bookshelf. It is the only series I own many of the books in multiple formats (paperback, eBook and audiobook). The characters come alive for me on the pages each time I pickup one of the books. And while, Voyager, book 3 in the series, is still my absolute favorite, this is the book that started it all. It is a big book, but it is worth every minute of your first read or your fifth read. For me, it’s like coming home again each time I pick it up again.
Skinshifter by Alycia Christine fits comfortably in the epic fantasy world. In this first book of the Sylvan Cycle series, Ms. Christine paints a beauSkinshifter by Alycia Christine fits comfortably in the epic fantasy world. In this first book of the Sylvan Cycle series, Ms. Christine paints a beautiful world inhabited by humans, elves and other mythical creatures like griffins and sphinxes. This world is also haunted by several paranormal undead creatures like vampires and ghouls. It’s a fully fleshed out world with its own religions, cultural norms and prejudices.
There is a lot happening in Skinshifter, but I was most impressed the diversity of the characters and their distinct personalities. The strong females, Katja (werecat), Lauraisha (human) and Zahra (dryad), who are all excellent fighters and philosophers. The respectful males, Felan (werewolf) and Dayalan (not telling!), are not afraid to acknowledge that the women in their party are sometimes stronger fighters and just as wise. Faced with seemingly impossible odds, the pack encounters numerous paranormal creatures like vampires and ghouls that are invading their lands and threatening their lives.
I was a bit overwhelmed by the different terminology and background of the World at the start. I felt a bit like Lauraisha and through her, the reader learns the history and the beliefs of the different species that live on the Sylvan continent. I longed for easier access to the Pronunciation Guide and Glossary and a map of the area.
There is always a new level of learning that takes place when one dives into epic fantasy and sometimes it is overwhelming and frustrating. In the end, beyond the strange cultures and words, the characters pull you through. Their triumphs become your triumphs and their losses, your losses. I certainly felt Katja’s pain and frustration and eventual understanding of the changing world around her. Like all of us, sometimes it just takes a bit of time to understand that our personal differences, that others may despise and fear, are what the world needs, and Skinshifter is certainly a book that can help the reader on that journey of self discovery.
I have been eyeing this series since the first book popped up in the blogosphere. Heck, I even own the first book, but haven’t read it. AftMind Blown!
I have been eyeing this series since the first book popped up in the blogosphere. Heck, I even own the first book, but haven’t read it. After finishing this short novella, the first book may be the next book I read.
It doesn’t appear to be necessary to have read the first two novels in the series to understand what is going on in “Clockwork Menagerie.” This isn’t always the case with series novellas. This short peek into Konstantin’s and Himmel’s lives will give you a taste for the dieselpunk genre and the style of Kincy’s writing.
This short peek is a love story. A HOT love story. If you are not open to other lifestyles you may want to steer clear though. I found the blossoming relationship between Konstantin and Himmel to be genuine. There was nothing odd or uncomfortable about it. It was real. They (Konstantin and Himmel) were real. And that was refreshing.
Some of the political information about the war and the technomancy/psychothaumaturgy details were a bit over my head. Just enough hints were given in the text for this to not be too distracting and I have a feeling when I continue with the other books in the series, all will become clear. And I’m looking forward to cracking open my copy of Shadows of Asphodel soon after finishing “Clockwork Menagerie.”
I have attended quite a few conventions over the last couple of years so when I found Charisma +1: The Guide to Convention Etiquette featured in a StoI have attended quite a few conventions over the last couple of years so when I found Charisma +1: The Guide to Convention Etiquette featured in a StoryBundle collection, I immediately added it to my Amazon Wish List. As a somewhat outgoing Introvert, I am always looking for ways to improve my interactions with strangers. Sometimes I feel like an overeager puppy once I start talking and can’t seem to stop.
Charisma +1: The Guide to Convention Etiquette for Gamers, Geeks & the Socially Awkward (Life Stats) is a lighthearted approach to appropriate social interactions and how to go about meeting people. It also provided a quick break down of some common convention terms like the dreaded Con Crud, cosplay and Dealers Room.
Advice I Plan to Remember
“A fellow writer gave me the formula that he adopted for conventions, to help keep him sane and relatively healthy. Just remember 6-2-1. 6—At least 6 hours of sleep a night 2—A least two meals a day 1—One shower every day” It’s the 6 hours of sleep I find the hardest do when I am among my own people!
And while I didn’t pick up any personal tips beyond…don’t be shy, it doesn’t hurt to approach people and try and start a conversation (and get plenty of sleep)…I do believe it would be a helpful book for someone who has never attended a fanish convention before. Or perhaps for a convention committee looking for ideas (Hygiene fairies?!).
“The Memory Lights”, a short story by K.M. Weiland packs a punch in its 34 pages. Set in gritty Victorian London, we are quickly introduced to Mary wh“The Memory Lights”, a short story by K.M. Weiland packs a punch in its 34 pages. Set in gritty Victorian London, we are quickly introduced to Mary who is haunted by the street lights and is hanging out with the wrong crowd. I was reminded of Oliver Twist, Sherlock Homes and Jack the Ripper as I raced through this story. I want to know more about Mary and the tragedy that involved the two men in her life, Alex and Jack. After finishing “The Memory Lights” I felt a need to seek out more of K.M. Weiland’s works to see if her full length works pack as much punch (strong world building & intriguing characters) as this 34-page short story.
It’s apparently steampunk week here at Second Run Reviews. It seemed serendipitous that finished Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick the week I was slated tIt’s apparently steampunk week here at Second Run Reviews. It seemed serendipitous that finished Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick the week I was slated to be a part of the book tour for Clockwork Menagerie.
Set in alternate world devastated by the Great Illumination, Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick follows Eyelet and Ulrick as they uncover the dark secrets of their personal lives and the world they live in.
I will say that I was captivated from first few pages of Lumière. I have a soft spot for books that lean on a close father/daughter relationship. After the prologue, I knew that I needed to follow Eyelet through to the end even if I had no intention of reading the entire Illumination Paradox series. I was going to trust Eyelet from start to finish.
This entire book was an incredible case of deja vu for me. I felt like I had read it before. However, I have no permanent record of reading it prior to now. Perhaps it was the familiar elements from other novels and worlds I have encountered.
The disparity between the Brethren part of town and Gears and the Follies reminded me of Dickens’ portrayal of Victorian London.
The obsessed scientists reminded me of Shelley’s Frankenstein. There are arguments, laying just below the surface, about using science for good or ill and who ultimately gets to make that decision.
The power of a parent’s love (or their hatred) had me flashing back to Harry Potter.
These familiar elements along with the intriguing characters kept me engaged with the book. Once Eyelet and Ulrick meet the plot really starts to roll and I’m sure I could have finished this book faster if not for real life (one mush eat, sleep, drink and pay the bills), I would have finished the book faster.
While the book does end on one hell of a cliffhanger, I don’t feel compelled to continue with the series. Most of major mysteries were solved with just enough information for me to move on without much regret. My questions were answered. I’m not that interested in seeing how the love story ends up. It will probably end up like all the other young adult/new adult love stories on the market.
Should you read Lumière? If you are looking for an exciting, heart-pounding young adult/new adult story that doesn’t require you to to invest in a new series, sure. If you are looking for an innovative steampunk novel, I’m afraid that Lumière may not deliver. It’s a great novel if you are looking to stay within (or return) to a known comfort zone.
Antivirus by Michael Koogler is a science fiction thriller with a twist of gruesome. It kept my mind engaged and my skin crawling until the end. ThisAntivirus by Michael Koogler is a science fiction thriller with a twist of gruesome. It kept my mind engaged and my skin crawling until the end. This novel was a bit outside my normal genres—a bit more on the hardcore science fiction side than I tend to read.
There are compelling characters throughout Antivirus, I immediately connected with Jennifer and Jon Sheppard. Their relationship felt real and believable. I understood the conflict they both felt in relation to their careers and their need to make sure the other was happy. And their dog, Dakota, filled out their family, and became a real key player in the unfolding of the plot. I could see him bounding around the house and backyard wrestling with Jon and protecting Jennifer. I actually disagree with the book’s blurb on GoodReads. This book, in my opinion is about Jon and his family.
The computer virus, introduced in the Prologue, was a real character to me as well. The level of sophistication of the software and its ability to adapt was amazing. I was reminded of the movie, Her, which showed the tender side of intelligent, adaptable AI. The Horde is the complete flip of that. Imagine Hannibal Lecter as a virus. *shivers*
I will admit that Antivirus was a bit gory. The gruesome bits were a bit too much for me. The way the virus consumed people was disturbing. As the book wound down to its conclusion and the virus ramped up the body count, the gore escalated. There is only so much guts and gore this girl can take. I’m barely able to watch people bleeding to death on television without getting a bit squicked out.
Antivirus was a thrill ride I wasn’t expecting. If you have a weak stomach, you may wish to proceed with caution. And be prepared to be haunted…hunted by The Horde.
Bram Stoker Dracula fan here. Yes, I read all the Twilight books, but found sparkly vampires hard to love. I would fawn over Eric Northman, but run awBram Stoker Dracula fan here. Yes, I read all the Twilight books, but found sparkly vampires hard to love. I would fawn over Eric Northman, but run away with Bill Compton. Comfort Louis and live the high life with Lestat. Yes, of all the paranormal creatures, I love the vampires in literature (and Eric and Bill on TV and in the books). I am quite picky about my vampires though. I want them to have some substance, meat on their bones, brains in their head. I want them to be as close to human as a vampire can get, and still have the danger their bloodlust evokes.
My last encounter with young adult vampires was the Twilight series. Beloved by some, detested by others. I was somewhat trepidatious to tackle Orchard by Jed Quinn. There was something about Orchard, the newly turned vampire with just the snapshot of her last moments as a human, that pulled me in. With just enough mystery to keep you turning the pages, Orchard takes you on her journey to change the vampire world and discover who she was.
While many vampires in other novels long for their human lives, all of the vampires in Quinn’s world do not recall who they were before they were turned. Except for Orchard. She has flashes that haunt her and motivate her to discover who she was and what role she plays in this supposedly small community of vampires.
My one beef with the book is that the vampires apparently are charged with maintaining the balance of the world. Never once in 272 pages do they appear to do this. The book is focused solely on Orchard and the new dynamic she presents to her nest which is made up of Tortuga, Mouse, Knife and Violet. Other than Orchard, the reader learns the most about Violet, a vivacious heartbroken fashionista. Violet puts on a brave face, but like Orchard, I think she secretly wishes she to would remember who she was before she was turned. It doesn’t stop her, though, from living her undead life to the fullest. Violet was the brightest spot in the book and brought a smile to my face as often as she did Orchard’s.
There is definitely potential in Orchard’s story. The world of vampires isn’t as small as her nest believes and her turning definitely introduces a new dynamic which isn’t fully realized in this novel and will be continued in the next book in the series, Cove.